Some interesting law and religion news stories from around the web this week:
- Saudi Arabia’s senior clerical leadership issued a new fatwa, or legal ruling, declaring terrorism a “heinous crime” under sharia law.
- Several Imams were among the fifteen people detained in Kosovo in an operation reportedly aimed at attacking recruitment of fighters for Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq.
- Nuns on the Bus, a group of Catholic nuns who travel to different cities speaking and advocating for particular issues, began its bus tour in Iowa. The tour, entitled “We the People. We the Voters,” seeks to “highlight the evils of ‘dark money’ in politics and encourage disenfranchised people to register to vote and show up on election day.”
- Jewish leaders who met with Pope Francis to mark Rosh Hashanah, the upcoming Jewish New Year, report that the Pope told them that Christians are suffering the same “savage attacks” once suffered by Jews.
- An increasingly vocal body of British legislators from both Houses of Parliament stated that the aim of the All Party Parliamentary Group on International Religious Freedom is to campaign for liberty of conscience in general, stressing the need protect all belief systems including atheism.
- The U.S. Air Force has allowed an atheist airman to re-enlist after initially refusing to process his paperwork, because the airman refused to sign an oath that contained the phrase “so help me God.”
- A group of scientists argue that engaging religious leaders, rather than relying on politicians, could hold the key to mobilizing billions of people around the world to change aspects of their lifestyles to help prevent catastrophic climate change. They single out Pope Francis and the Catholic Church.
- A recent ruling by the European Court of Human Rights stressed that Turkey’s compulsory religion courses violate the freedom of religion and conscience as well as the right to education. The ruling is expected to be appealed. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu compared the situation of atheists taking a religion course to that of non-Marxists taking a course on Marx.
- According to a study conducted by the Rabbinical Center of Europe and the European Jewish Association, about forty percent of European Jews hide their Jewish identity.